Times have changed from the brand-strong days of “I want to be like Mike” to “that’s what people like us do” – and making this move ourselves demands a different sensitivity to motivations and persuasion.
People aren’t more or less individualistic, just differently oriented toward their sense of agency.
And agency is sense of self and socially-affirmed or self and socially-denied that one may act effectively to alter one’s place of belonging or importance – even if the sense of agency is just an illusion.
Take for example the social construct of “hearing feedback and ideas” only to discover that autocratic leaders and bosses have already devised a course of action. Why then the charade of feedback? To make one feel listened to and hopefully gain buy-in when their premeditated plans are announced.
It’s too dangerous to ask open-ended questions of constituents, employees, stakeholders or customers because they might say something different than the response we want.
And this uncertainty is at the heart of the individualized (not just personalized) value proposition demanded in today’s world.